Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday ACC Football

AND NOTRE DAME...
VIRGINIA TECH (-10.5) @ Pittsburgh, 12:00 PM, TV: ESPNU (XM 85, SIRIUS 85)

WAKE FOREST @ #5 FLORIDA STATE (-25), 12:00 PM, TV: ESPN (XM 190, SIRIUS 93)

Bethune-Cookman @ MIAMI (NO LINE),12:00 PM, TV: ESPN3 (XM 192, SIRIUS 136)

Connecticut (-1) @ MARYLAND, 12:30 PM, TV: ACC Network (XM 191, SIRIUS 132)

Furman @ CLEMSON (NO LINE), 3:00 PM, TV: RSN (XM 198, SIRIUS 80)

NORTH CAROLINA @ Louisville (-3.5), 3:30 PM, TV: ABC/ESPN2 (XM 85, SIRIUS 85)

VIRGINIA @ GEORGIA TECH (-11), 3:30 PM, TV: ESPNU (XM 190, SIRIUS 93)

BOSTON COLLEGE @ Northwestern (-4), 3:30 PM, TV: Big Ten Network (SIRIUS 112)

South Alabama @ N.C. STATE (-33), 6:00 PM, TV: ESPN3 (SIRIUS 135)

N.C. Central @ DUKE (NO LINE), 7:00 PM, TV: ESPN3 (SIRIUS 134)

*Point spreads for recreational purposes only.

Nat’s Magic Number: Still 11

Our Washington Nationals (formerly your Montreal Expos) (89-55) lost to the Atlanta Braves (82-63) 2-1 last night down in Georgia (where the Devil went down to according to Charlie Daniels).  Bryce Harper generated the Nats’ offense with a solo home run.

It was not your normal game.
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Kris Medlen, who started the season as a little-known reliever, had a career-high 13 strikeouts, and the Braves pulled out the victory over the first-place Nats when Andrelton Simmons scored on a throwing error by Ian Desmond in the ninth inning.

An odd “walk off” victory to say the least.

While Medlen wasn't around for the decision -- he was lifted for a pinch hitter after going seven -- the Braves kept alive a remarkable streak. They won for the 20th time in a row when Medlen is the starter, already a franchise record and the longest streak in the big leagues since the New York Yankees  won 20 consecutive starts by Roger “Juice” Clemens in 2001.

The two play again today at 4:05 pm.
ROSS DETWILER (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Friday, September 14, 2012

(Not As) Big East Commish Talks Notre Dame


(Edited from ESPN) Big East commissioner Mike Aresco said Thursday there have been no discussions yet about letting Notre Dame out of the league to join the ACC before the required 27-month waiting period.

"They may make that request and then we'd have to negotiate with them because they are required to stay for two more seasons. If they do, we'll engage them in a negotiation. I can't tell you much more than that," Aresco said Thursday before the Rutgers-South Florida football game, his first public comments since Notre Dame took all sports but football to the ACC.

Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia all were able to negotiate early departures from the Big East when they decided to make moves to different conferences. West Virginia paid $20 million to go to the Big 12; Pitt and Syracuse each will pay $7.5 million to join the ACC in 2013.

"I really don't want to comment much on that," Aresco said when asked about the possibility of letting Notre Dame out early. "There is a precedent for that. We'll maintain a good relationship with Notre Dame. We've been very magnanimous. That's the way we should be. We wish Notre Dame well. We'll talk to them. We may be able to figure something out. We may not. We just don't know yet."

"When you lose a team, there's always some comment and that's fine. We know we have a strong future, and we also know we've reconstituted our football and we've added some outstanding teams. The old Big East in football was a very good conference, but it didn't have a Boise, which has a national appeal, it didn't have range, it didn't have the Texas schools. We have a bright outlook, and I'm going to make that point. What we don't want to do is let a narrative take over that might simply be inaccurate. It is simply inaccurate."

To read more, click here

As P.T. Barnum Once So Famously Said...


...any publicity is good publicity.

That said, it it's Pennsylvania and it involves football there is some likelihood that it's not "good."

From “Prep Rally:”

Note to school districts: If you are going to produce a field-side banner aiming at increasing sponsorship via the sales of other similar banners, make sure that your own product is spell checked -- and word checked -- before it goes to the printers, and after it comes out.

In particular, avoid the mistake made by the Red Lion Area School District -- a school district in Pennsylvania -- in the banner above, as first noted by Deadspin and originally posted to Twitter by Ryan Petzar. Go ahead and read the text on that sign twice. The spelling mistake is as embarrassing as it is innocuous.

Clearly, Red Lion officials were advocating that they were a purveyor of public education, not "pubic education." That was confirmed by Don Dimoff, the marketing and communications manager for the Red Lion School District in a conversation with Prep Rally on Thursday.
ODDLY, THE RED LIONS DON'T WEAR "RED." (Sam Getty/PennLive.com)
"To be honest with you, all that really happened was the sign company made a spelling error, and in the midst of putting it up for a football game some of the other people missed it," Dimoff told Prep Rally. "As soon as we found out about it the damage had already been done. It was an honest mistake. It doesn't reflect on the quality of our sponsors or our programs. It was just an honest mistake by a sign company.

"It's been a rough few days. Unfortunately, these are the few things that get you on the map, we're doing a lot of good things with our sponsorship program and now all anyone will remember is this. We're creating partnerships not just with athletics, but also with the school district. 
There's a lot of colleges where the college is the town and the town is the college. We're trying to do that for our schools here in a similar way."

While the mistake was clearly an honest one, the ramifications on Dimoff and the Red Lion area have been significant. As the marketing and communications manager noted himself, the mistake helped put Red Lion on the map -- it's in South-Central Pennsylvania, in case you were wondering -- and drew all kinds of unwanted attention from outside the community to the school's sponsorship efforts.
NO KIDDING, THEY DON'T WEAR "RED." (Sean Summers/Patriot News)
It also may have made Dimoff's job much more difficult, as he works to ensure all that are currently part of the sponsorship program that many more checks will be put in place over all future promotional materials ... especially stadium signs.

"Of all the missed letters, it had to be that one," Dimoff told Prep Rally. "The poor sign company feels horrible because they missed it. The people who hung the sign feel horrible because they missed it. I feel horrible. I've been losing sleep and haven't eaten in two days trying to deal with this.”

ACC Football Links

By Heather Dinich | ESPN.com

Mark Bradley agrees it won't be long until the Irish are full-fleged ACC football members.
For now, it's the perfect compromise.

Will Notre Dame's move to the ACC end conference realignment?

Wednesday's news may have come as a surprise, but it was a long time in the making.
Virginia Tech has never played Notre Dame in football. Let's get it started!

The Associated Press gives you the why, when and how much.

Here are five important questions and answers about the partnership.

This is a bridge that will bring the two together in football one day.

Sammy Watkins needs to get in line behind DeAndre Hopkins.

Duke Johnson is going to get more touches for Miami.

Pictures Of The Day

Iconic (and no bulls**t) UConn coach Jim Calhoun announced his retirement yesterday. He has been slowed by health issues and various controversies of late but his place in the Hall of Fame is cemented.  Calhoun will replaced by assistant coach and former player Kevin Ollie. (US Presswire)
Circa 1999, Calhoun watches from the sidelines during the game against the Seton Hall Pirates at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jesery.  (Ezra O. Shaw /Allsport/Getty Images North America)
Circa 2004, Calhoun during the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championships against the DePaul University Blue Demons at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York. UConn won. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images North America)
Calhoun cuts down the net after defeating the Butler Bulldogs to win the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)
Calhoun jokes with U.S. President Barack Obama (3rd R) during an event to honor the Huskies at the White House May 16, 2011 in Washington, DC. UConn earned the national championship with an 11-game run through the postseason, ending with a 53-41 win over Butler in the NCAA title game. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America)

Calhoun reacts during a game with West Virginia Mountaineers in the second half at the XL Center on January 9, 2012 in Hartford, Connecticut.  (Jim Rogash/Getty Images North America)
Calhoun throws the ceremonial first pitch prior to a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park April 9, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Jim Rogash/Getty Images North America)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Nats’ Magic Number: 11

Our Washington Nationals (formerly your Montreal Expos) (89-54) defeated the New York Mets  (65-78) 2-0 last night to sweep the three game series before heading to Atlanta.  The Braves were swept by the Brewers losing again 8-2.  Now, the Nats' magic number is11.  That’s 11 to win the division and six to secure a wild card playoff spot.
(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
John Lannan, who replaced Stephen Strasburg in Washington’s starting rotation, got the win. 

The surging Nationals have won nine of 11 and 12 of 15 and now have an 8.5 game lead over the dwindling Braves.

That said, the Nats play the Braves Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

More Details On Newly Irish ACC

SWARBRICK and SWOFFORD
ACC commissioner John Swofford and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick addressed the media Wednesday and answered several questions about the Irish joining the league in all sports but football.
  • Swofford said the league has no plans to add a 16th member at this time. The big reason is because Notre Dame will not join as a football member. Adding a 16th team would throw off the football divisions; the ACC has no divisions in basketball.  (OK, how does 16 teams “throw off” two divisions of 8...Isn’t it more likely, the ACC is holding the 16th spot for ND when they finally let go of their “independence?”
  • Notre Dame plans on implementing its ACC foootball scheduling partnership in 2014, with five games against ACC schools per season. The current plan is to have Notre Dame play every ACC school at least once in a three-year period. The Irish already have future scheduling arrangements with Boston College, Pittsburgh, Miami, Wake Forest and Syracuse. 
  • This new partnership also means Notre Dame joins the ACC bowl lineup. Notre Dame would be an option as an opponent in the Orange Bowl. Beyond that, Notre Dame would be a potential team to play in any of the ACC contracted bowls. Its overall record would have to be better than, equal to or within one win of ACC teams available to be selected. Notre Dame would share in the revenues if selected to any of those bowls, and get an expenses allowance. If Notre Dame is picked for a BCS game, it would keep its revenues from that appearance. This bowl partnership would begin for the 2014 season.
  • Swofford said league athletic directors may revisit the decision to play a nine-game league schedule with the Notre Dame scheduling agreement. Teams like Clemson, Georgia Tech and Florida State would have to play their in-state rival game and Notre Dame at least once in a three-year span during nonconference.
  • On the same note, Swofford said adding Notre Dame helps boost strength of schedule, an important factor that will be considered when teams are selected for the future playoff. 
  • Swarbrick would say only that Notre Dame plans to honor its commitment to the Big East. That would require a 27-month waiting period and entry in 2015-16. But recent departing schools have left earlier.
  • And, the new $50 million ACC exit fee goes into effect immediately.

ACC Football Links

EDSALL, PRE-MARYLAND
By Andrea Adelson | ESPN.com

Here is a quick preview of the Boston College-Northwestern game.

Clemson's new secret weapon: nutrition science.

Duke needs a win to get back on track.


So is Vad Lee the backup quarterback at Georgia Tech or not?

Randy Edsall only has one regret about the way he left UConn.

There's no quit in Miami defensive end Shayon Green.

Ryan Fagan of The Sporting News has a terrific feature on North Carolina defensive end Sylvester Williams. Giovani Bernard was out at practice Wednesday.

N.C. State's offense is struggling.

Virginia tight end Jake McGee has drawn comparisons to Heath Miller.

Virginia Tech running back Trey Edmunds will redshirt this season.

Wake Forest left tackle Steven Chase is practicing to see if he can play with a torn ACL.

Here is the way-too-early ACC Player of the Year watch.

Evidently, Chapel Hill Enjoys A Good Scandal...

(Dan Sears/UNC Chapel Hill)
...because they keep on coming.

Here’s the latest:

Tami Hansbrough, the mother of former basketball star Tyler Hansbrough, resigned her position as a fundraiser at UNC-Chapel Hill on Wednesday as officials studied a range of trips she took with chief fundraiser Matt Kupec.

Kupec, who resigned Sunday amid questions about the travel, was in a relationship with Tami Hansbrough. Hansbrough had been on administrative leave.

“Tamara Hansbrough has resigned her position as a major gifts officer, effective immediately, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” according to a short news release from the university late Wednesday.

The News & Observer has confirmed that university officials are studying at least six trips taken by Kupec and Hansbrough that coincided with basketball games for Hansbrough’s son, Ben, while he was a star player at Notre Dame.  The two also travelled to cities where Tyler Hansbrough was playing for the Indiana Pacers. 

UNC officials have not provided any further details about travel at university expense that Chancellor Holden Thorp has said in an interview was unacceptable. UNC has not provided any records about the trips, including costs to the university, whether Kupec and Hansbrough reimbursed the university, and other details.

“We are in the preliminary stages of our review,” said Regina Stabile, a university lawyer.

To read more, click here

Pictures Of The Day

RG3 doing his thing against the Saints.  (John David Mercer/US Presswire)
Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy watches as Atlanta Braves' Chipper Jones acknowledges the crowd for his last at bat at Miller Park during the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Stephen Strasburg #37 congratulates Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals after a win against the New York Mets during a game at Citi Field on September 12, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)




Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ACC Blogger Heather Dinich On Notre Dame And ACC Football

With this move, the ACC hit two home runs: It solidified its current membership for the future and cornered Notre Dame into a commitment. The biggest downside to this for ACC fans is the bowl arrangement. Under the new agreement, Notre Dame could step over an ACC team and take its place in one of the non-BCS bowls if its record is better than, equal to or within one win of the ACC team or ranked higher in the BCS standings. ACC fans are likely to get a taste of what has angered Big East fans for years. In the big picture, though, it's worth the trade-off.

While five football games might seem like a tease to many ACC fans, it’s important to remember that that’s almost half of Notre Dame’s schedule. Eventually, under this new agreement, every ACC team will face Notre Dame at least once in a three-year period. That’s an especially intriguing scenario, considering the ACC is moving to a nine-game conference schedule next year when Pittsburgh and Syracuse join the league.

Adding Notre Dame to the lineup for Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech, which already have built-in SEC rivals, will make a national championship run even more difficult, but it also will make for a more entertaining nonconference schedule (see you later, Savannah State and Murray State).

It also will boost the ACC’s strength of schedule in time for the new playoff system, as Swarbrick said Notre Dame would like to begin the five-game arrangement as early as 2014.

To read the entire post, click here.

Prominent Local Notre Dame Alum Comments On Move To ACC


ACC Mulls Name Change (Again)

NEWLY-DECORATED GOLDEN DOME IN SOUTH BEND
As we reported back in February, sources close to the ACC have told T.A.H. Worldwide Media LLC (for a very small stipend) that the ACC was close to changing the conferences name to the A(ME)CC – the Atlantic Mountain East Coast Conference, right after non-Atlantic Coast schools Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced they were leaving the Big East for the old ACC (we once knew and loved).

Those same sources (for even a smaller fee) now claim that the ACC is in meetings contemplating another name change to take effect when Notre Dame officially becomes a member of what used to be known as the Atlantic Coast Confernce.

The new(est) name for the seemingly ever-expanding conference that once was home to a mere eight schools located in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina is rumored to be the Atlantic Mountain East Coast Midwest Conference or the A(ME)C(M)C.

“Well, like everything we do,” (allegedly) said Commissioner John Swofford, “this makes perfect sense. A(ME)C(M)E kind of rolls of the tongue, doesn’t it?”

Further clamor in cyberspace suggest there was a move to include the words “Catholic,” “Indiana,” "Golden Dome" and “Leprechaun” in the conference name, but Swofford (allegedly) denied that (allegedly) saying, “We wanted the name to be geographically specific and leave the door open for further expansion in case an Ohio State or Florida or Baylor or Nebraska wants to come join us in the future. We've completely ruled out West Coast teams...for now.”

“The S.E.C. being the South Eastern Conference and having a team from Texas, which is Midwest to some and Southwest to others, is ridiculous, borderline stupid, if you ask me,” (allegedly) scoffed Swofford mocking his football-heavy rivals to the south.

*Items in italics may not be true.  

Notre Dame To Join ACC ‘Cuase Indiana Has Moved Closer To The Atlantic

According to the AP, ESPN and others, in yet another amazing geographic shift, Notre Dame will join the Atlantic Coast Conference as a full member with the exception of football, but will play five football games annually against ACC teams.

"We have monitored the changing conference landscape for many months and have concluded that moving to the ACC is the best course of action for us," said Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame vice president and director of athletics, in a statement released by the conference. "We are able to maintain our historic independence in football, join in the ACC's non-BCS bowl package, and provide a new and extremely competitive home for our other sports."

The ACC does not offer hockey, so it is presumed that Notre Dame will go through with its planned move to Hockey East in that sport.

The Irish will join the ACC as soon as it can exit the Big East. The Big East currently requires members to provide 27 months notice to exit although West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse were able to leave earlier by paying a higher exit fee.

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey texted ESPN.com's Andy Katz, saying "we're going," and adding that while no timetable has been established for the move, he is excited for the challenge.

Notre Dame joins Syracuse and Pittsburgh in bolting the Big East for the ACC. In February, the conference announced divisions for a 14-team basketball league, but it will now have to accomodate a 15th team.

"The ACC was founded on the cornerstones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity," said ACC commissioner John Swofford in the statement. " Our partnership with Notre Dame only strengthens this long-standing commitment."

The commitment to five ACC games in football will likely mean some changes for the Irish's football schedule. They already play ACC team's Boston College and Wake Forest and have renewed their rivalry with Miami this season. Pittsburgh is on the schedule this season as a Big East team but is moving to the ACC.

USC, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue and Stanford have been schedule mainstays recently. Navy, Notre Dame's opponent in Dublin, Ireland, this year, is a traditional game.

Along with inviting Notre Dame, the ACC also says it has increased its exit fees for the conference's schools to three times the annual operation budget -- which would currently come to more than $50 million.

Nats’ Magic Number: 13

Our Washington Nationals (formerly your Montreal Expos) (88-54) defeated the New York Mets  (65-77) last night in the second game of a six-game road trip while the Braves were losing again to the Brewers to reduce the Nats' magic number to 13.
HARPER (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper had four hits after previously going 0-10 against Mets' ace R.A. Dickey.  
MORSE (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Pinch hitter Tyler Moore put the Nats ahead with a homer in the seventh. 

The Nats wore their patriotic "stars & stripes" uniforms.


ACC Football Links

By Andrea Adelson | ESPN.com

Boston College has had some receivers step up so far this season

Getting Sammy Watkins back adds another dimension to the Clemson offense

WATKINS (Getty Images)
Duke's lopsided loss left the Blue Devils bewildered

What did Florida State learn about itself in two wins over FCS teams? Not much, apparently

Will Georgia Tech be ready for Virginia's power game

Marcus Leak and Stefon Diggs are making plays for Maryland

Miami is looking for a new defensive strategy

Will Giovani Bernard play this week for North Carolina? Good question
BERNARD (Getty Images)
N.C. State is looking for better play out of its offensive line

Tougher tests are on the horizon for Virginia

Virginia Tech linebacker Bruce Taylor says he will play against Pitt

Wake Forest nose guard Nikita Whitlock didn't practice Monday night

Injured Duke Receiver On The Mend


According to the Durham Herald-Sun, injured Duke wide receiver Billy Holliday will return to Wallace Wade Stadium this weekend:

(Edited) The sophomore wide receiver, critically injured in a July 4 personal watercraft accident, is expected to be at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday when the Blue Devils meet N.C. Central at 7 p.m.

Sources close to the Holliday family said Tuesday night that Holliday has progressed in his rehabilitation well enough to make tentative plans to travel to campus. He is expected to spend time with his teammates before the game and could make an on-field appearance.

Holliday suffered a traumatic brain injury when the personal watercraft he was piloting on Lake Tillery in Stanly County was struck by one driven by fellow Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder.

Holliday spent most of August in Atlanta at The Shepherd Center, a world-renowned facility for rehabilitation of brain and spinal-cord injuries. He improved enough to move to outpatient status on Sept. 1, and he remains in Atlanta and receives outpatient therapy at The Shepherd Center for about five hours per day.

With massive injuries to his head and face, Holliday nearly died on site at Lake Tillery after the accident. Chelsea Gibbons, a Pitt Community College nursing student who happened to be at the lake that day, administered CPR and emergency breaths to save Holliday’s life when he stopped breathing.

Gibbons plans to accompany Holliday to Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday night.

After initially being transported to Stanly Regional Hospital, Holliday was moved to UNC Hospitals where he spent the remainder of the month in the Intensive Care Unit.  

In early August, Holliday moved to The Shepherd Center, and has now had phone conversations with Duke coach David Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils players. Holliday has also regained his ability to walk.

HOLLIDAY'S "8" ON DUKE HELMET
Holliday, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound receiver from Sherman Oaks, Calif., was expected to start for Duke this season before the accident. He was named Duke’s most improved offensive player after spring practice in March.

His athletic ability and work ethic have been cited by the doctors who have treated him as reasons for his recovery.

Duke’s players are honoring Holliday by wearing a sticker with his jersey No. 8 on the back of their helmets this season.

Quote Of The Day

“When coach Williams opened the case you almost couldn't look directly in it for fear of going blind. It was crazy.” -- Julius Randle, the 6-9 forward who some recruiting analyst say is the best prospect in the Class of 2013.
RANDLE (Todd Shurtleff Photo)
According to the USA Today, Kentucky’s John Calipari visited Randle and made a big deal out of his National Championship ring.

Not to be outdone, Ol’ Roy paid the Texas senior a visit with a case holding 30 rings from when the Tar Heels won the the title in 2005 and 2009 along with other rings from various Final Fours and ACC tournaments.

Carolyn Kyles, Randle’s mother,  told the paper, “Yeah, coach Williams was ready for coach Cal with those rings. He got him there.

Duke: More On Lance Thomas’ Bling

(Michael Conroy/AP Photo)

To read more on what the Suits in Indianapolis (formerly Kansas) and known to some as the NCAA might do and when they need to do it, click here. 

Pictures Of The Day

Andy Murray of Great Britain lifts the US Open championship trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the men's singles final match on Day Fifteen of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Murray defeated Djokovic 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 in a match lasting almost 5 hours.  (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America)
Jamie Kuntz poses for a photograph at a football field in Dickinson, N.D., on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012. Kuntz says he was kicked of the North Dakota State College of Science football team for being gay. School officials say he was dismissed from the team for lying to a coach. (AP Photo/James MacPherson)
Boats compete in the J105 class during the final day of the Rolex Big Boat Series on September 9, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)
Diamondbacks starter Trevor Cahill throws a pitch to the Giants' Pablo Sandoval as not merely a single, but a double rainbow appears all the way across the San Francisco sky. (Marco Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)
Tomasz Adamek, right, of Poland, lands a punch on Travis Walker during the fifth round of a heavyweight boxing match at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. (Tim Larsen/AP Photo)






Tuesday, September 11, 2012

God Bless America


Those who have served and those who have fallen.

Bling Trouble For Duke?

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Lance Thomas, a starter on Duke's 2010 national championship team is being sued by a New York jeweler for not paying the balance of what he owes after buying $100,000 in custom jewelry that season.

According to various reports, Thomas purchased five pieces of diamond jewelry at a cost of $97,800 on Dec. 21, 2009, in the middle of his senior season, according the lawsuit. Documents included with the suit indicate he made a $30,000 down payment and received $67,800 in credit from the firm, which caters to professional athletes. The nearly $68,000 balance remains unpaid.

Thomas started 39 games at forward during the 2009-10 season, including the Blue Devils' 61-59 victory over Butler in the championship game. He wasn't drafted by an NBA team but played last season for the New Orleans Hornets.

A Duke spokesman said the university knows about the lawsuit and is looking into it.

"We have been made aware of a lawsuit filed by a jeweler against former men's basketball player Lance Thomas and we are currently looking into the matter," said Jon Jackson, the school's associate athletic director for media relations.

NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said the organization also is aware of the matter and is in communication with Duke.

(Kevin C. Cox)
NCAA rules regarding amateurism prohibit athletes from receiving benefits that aren't available to all students. Speaking generally, Osburn said "the test" for such a violation is whether "the general student body, or someone similarly situated, would be able to get the same benefit or treatment."

Thomas, 24, is from Scotch Plains, N.J., and played at prep power St. Benedict's, according to his biography on the Duke website. The site said his mother is a manager at a Ford plant in New Jersey.
John Spencer, an agent who has represented Thomas, said he wasn't aware of the jewelry purchase. He referred all comment on the lawsuit to an Austin attorney who is representing Thomas in the matter. The attorney didn't return phone messages from the AP.

Rafaello & Co., which also does business as A+A Diamonds Ltd., promotes itself as a "deluxe" jeweler.

(Chris Grathen/Getty Images)
Mike Bowers, the firm's attorney, said Thomas purchased a black diamond necklace, a diamond-encrusted watch, a pair of diamond studs, a diamond cross and a black diamond pendant in the shape of Jesus' head. According to the purchase order, signed by Thomas, the player agreed to pay a deposit of at least 25 percent of the purchase price and the remainder in 15 days.

Bowers said he was unaware of how Thomas made the required down payment.

To read more about the potential fallout, click here. 

Nats’ Magic Number: 15

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Our Washington Nationals (formerly your Montreal Expos) (87-54) defeated the New York Mets  (65-76) last night in the first game of a six-game road trip to reduce their magic number to 15.  Gio Gonzalez earned his big league-leading 19th victory

Meanwhile, the second-place Braves lost to the Brewers 4-1.

ACC Players Of The Week

PRICE (Robert Willett/News & Observer)
OFFENSIVE BACK - Tanner Price, Wake Forest, Jr., QB, 6-2, 205, Austin, Tex. (Watch Wake Forest's Game Highlights)
Price completed 27 of 38 passes for 327 yards in Wake Forest's 28-27 win over North Carolina on Sept. 8. Price also carried seven times for 5 yards and rushed for a pair of touchdowns. Price's 327 yards represented a career-high in passing yards and the two rushing touchdowns were also a career-best. Trailing 27-21 with 6:36 to play in the game, Price led Wake Forest on an 11-play, 93-yard drive for the game-winning touchdown. On the drive, Price completed five of seven passes for 67 yards and carried three times for 5 yards including the game-winning 1-yard TD plunge.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN - Oday Aboushi, Virginia, Sr., OT, 6-6, 310, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Watch Virginia's Game Highlights)
Senior offensive tackle Oday Aboushi had another solid day, grading out at 92 percent on 65 plays. He had 12 knockdown blocks against the Penn State front seven.

RECEIVER - Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest, Jr., WR, 5-11, 195, Clarksville, Md. (Watch Wake Forest's Game Highlights)
Campanaro caught a career-high 13 passes for a career-high 164 yards in Wake Forest's 28-27 win over North Carolina on Saturday. Campanaro had nine catches for 108 yards in the first half as Wake Forest built a 21-14 halftime lead. He had four catches for 56 yards in the second half, including one 15-yard reception on the game-winning drive. Campanaro's 13 receptions were two shy of the school record and the most ever by a Deacon versus the Tar Heels.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN - Hasan Hazime, Wake Forest, Sr., DE, 6-5, 270, Pickering, Ontario (Watch Wake Forest's Game Highlights)
Hazime had five tackles including three solos and two assists versus North Carolina. A fifth-year transfer from Akron, Hazime made his first career start for Wake Forest on Saturday, filling in for an injured DE Zach Thompson. Hazime had a sack of North Carolina QB Bryn Renner, forcing a fumble which he then recovered, settingup Wake Forest's go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter. Hazime also broke up a team-high two pass attempts by the Tar Heels.

GREER
LINEBACKER - Steve Greer, Virginia, Sr., LB, 6-2, 230, Solon, Ohio (Watch Virginia's Game Highlights)
Greer had the best game of his career in Virginia's 17-16 victory against Penn State. Greer registered a career-high 15 tackles and tied his career high with two sacks. He finished the game with 2.5 tackles for loss. Greer was part of a Cavalier defense that rose up and kept the Nittany Lions out of the end zone and forced them to attempt field goals, which they converted just 1 of 5. The Virginia defense held Penn State to just -14 total yards and 3 total points following four Cavalier turnovers during the game. Three of those turnovers came inside the Virginia 25-yard line and the fourth was at the 38-yard line. Penn State managed just 2.9 yards per play during the game.

DEFENSIVE BACK - Earl Wolff, N.C. State, Sr.,S, 6-0, 207, Raeford, N.C. (Watch NC State's Game Highlights)
Wolff tallied seven stops (including five first hits or solos) in the 10-7 road win over UConn, even though he played just three quarters after leaving with an injury. He picked off the fifth pass of his career in the second half with UConn driving when Wolff caught the interception at midfield and returned it 16 yards. The senior made perhaps the biggest play of the game on defense in the third quarter when he recovered a fumble that Brandan Bishop forced with NC State leading 3-0. That gave the Pack the ball at the UConn 41 and three plays later, State scored its only touchdown of the afternoon.

HILLS
SPECIALIST - Spencer Benton, Clemson, Sr., K, 6-1, 195, Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Watch Clemson's Game Highlights)
Benton kicked an ACC record 61-yard field goal in Clemson's 52-27 victory over Ball State. The 61-yard field goal broke the previous Clemson record by four yards and broke the previous ACC record by a yard. It was just the fourth field goal of 60 yards or more at the FBS level this century (The fifth was kicked later in the afternoon by Andrew Furney of Washington State against Eastern Washington, a 60-yarder). In addition to his record setting field goal, Benton kicked off five times with four resulting in touchbacks. He also had a 43-yard average on two punts, both of which pinned Ball State inside its own 20. He also held on Clemson place kicks, except for his 61-yard attempt.

ROOKIE - Perry Hills, Maryland, Fr., QB, 6-3, 205, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Watch Maryland's Game Highlights)
Hills, who last week became the first freshman to start a season opener for Maryland since Calvin McCall in 1999, had an excellent outing in the 36-27 win against Temple. The Pittsburgh, Pa., native went 11 of 21 for 190 yards and two touchdowns, and also ran for a touchdown. He also made several momentum-changing plays on third down: he ran for an 11-yard TD on third-and-goal after a low snap that hit the ground; he hit Marcus Leak for a 39-yard gain on third-and-17 in the third quarter; and finally, hooked up with Stefon Diggs down the sideline for 38 yards on a third-and-11 with under 4:00 left and Maryland clinging to a 29-27 lead. In all, Hills led Maryland on six scoring drives (four touchdowns, two field goals) in its 36-27 win over Temple.

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